The Prime Minister of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev, accompanied by the Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Nikola Dimitrov and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Bujar Osmani, met today with the Vice President of the European Commission and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell. After the meeting, Zaev and Borrell made statements.
“Let me stress again very clearly: there is no support for “decoupling” – neither in the European Union institutions, nor among the Member states. North Macedonia met the necessary conditions to start the accession negotiations and, similarly to Albania, deserves to proceed to the next stage of the process without delays” categorically said European official.
Zoran Zaev welcomed the working visit to Brussels and stressed that he and the delegation had a clear mission these days in Brussels, to convey the message of the citizens of Northern Macedonia to the EU officials that we have worked hard, delivered and that we want to deliver our fair share of the future of Europe.
“We breathe, live and grow with European ideas and values!” And we know that there is no other way but the European one. We are committed to our common values and to the application of EU standards and criteria. And, we do not want to stop and wait any longer. “We want to move forward because progress is the European way,” Zaev said.
In addition, the Prime Minister of North Macedonia said that “we are not asking for more than we deserve, that is, to hold the first intergovernmental conference as soon as possible.” “Northern Macedonia has fulfilled its obligations and now is the time for the EU to meet them,” Zaev added.
“Can we talk about the Western Balkans without North Macedonia? Can we talk about Europe without the Western Balkans? No! We have fought hard over the last decades and the last century to find the path to peace and tolerance. “And now we are all ready to join, to dream together and to succeed together,” Zaev said.
The Prime Minister of North Macedonia stressed that a positive step forward for the Republic of Northern Macedonia is a message of encouragement for the whole region and the withdrawal, for Northern Macedonia, will be a message of discouragement for the entire Western Balkans.
“I know this and European leaders know it. “Let us act together in Europe and follow the European course,” concluded Zoran Zaev.
The High Representative stressed that “it is a very timely meeting because just yesterday, we had an interesting and long discussion at the Foreign Affairs Ministers Council of the European Union about the Western Balkans. About the importance of the Western Balkans and our continued commitment to the region. The Ministers [of Foreign Affairs], all of them, reaffirmed the European perspective of the whole region”.
Continuing Borrell said that “there was a strong support to convene the first Intergovernmental Conference for North Macedonia as soon as possible. We know that you have been waiting for a long time – 16 years maybe. You are the second longest lasting country at the door of enlargement. But I can tell you that there was a strong support from all [Foreign Affairs] Ministers for the first conference to take place”.
“I also would like to underline the high level of your alignment with our Foreign and Security Policy. And for me, the High Representative, it is very important that you very courageously – and sometimes paying a price – you have been aligning with our Common Foreign and Security Policy. We appreciate it a lot. And I understand that it is an expression of your commitment to the European path for your country” said Borrell.
“I want to insist on this idea, North Macedonia can count on us to support [it] when it comes to finding a solution to advance on the accession path” Josep Borrell concluded in joint statements with Zoran Zaev./ibna